published Monday, November 19th, 2012

Jasper official questions engineering inspections

JASPER, Tenn. — City administrators have been notified that Jasper will receive a $500,000 grant to help pay for installation of water lines across the new bridge crossing the Tennessee River along U.S. Highway 41.

That job will require an engineering inspector. And, at its November meeting, the Jasper Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted 4-1 to accept an amendment to add an inspector to the engineering services contract the city has with CTI Engineers Inc.

Alderman Paul Evans, who will take over as mayor of Jasper next month, cast the lone dissenting vote and questioned whether the inspector should be a CTI employee.

Evans said that on a previous project a CTI inspector did a poor job that cost the town an extra $4,400.

"I don't want another issue where we're flipping the bill for something that we paid for once before because the inspector didn't do his job," he said.

Gary Cosby, an engineer with CTI, disputes Evans's claim. Cosby said a mistake was made on the original drawings for the project Evans referred to, and that error caused a valve to be installed incorrectly.

"We had an inspector on [that project], and he did his job to make sure things got put in [correctly]," he said. "He put in [the valve] the way he interpreted the drawings."

"I want to make sure that we don't have this again," Evans said. "The inspector should have made sure that that job was done according to [CTI's] drawing."

Cosby said he had "no problem" with the inspection that was done on the previous project, because the CTI inspector did make sure the job was done according to the drawings, but the "record drawings" were incorrect.

The inspector for the bridge's water line extension project doesn't have to be a CTI employee as long as he is a certified inspector, Evans said.

Adding the inspector will tack on about $10,000 to the total engineering services bill for the project, which now stands at about $52,500, officials said.

"It's within the budget on the grant," Cosby said. "It's actually less than what was budgeted."

Mayor Billy Simpson said installing the water lines on the new bridge is "roughly an $800,000 job," and the grant money Jasper is getting is "a big chunk of it."

Officials said they expect that project to start in early March, and it should take about five months to complete.

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